Bermuda have included three new faces in their 23-man squad for their Concacaf Nations League match with regional powerhouse Mexico at the National Stadium tomorrow.
Paul Douglas and Diego Richardson have replaced PHC Zebras pair Marco Warren and Daren Usher while goalkeeper Jahquil Hill has been added as another goalkeeping option.
Bermuda, second in group B behind Panama on goal difference, are ranked 167th in the Fifa world rankings while Mexico, who won the Gold Cup last summer, are ranked twelfth.
Coach Kyle Lightbourne is optimistic going into the match, with Bermuda’s confidence boosted after they turned a 4-1 home loss to Panama into a 2-0 away win in Panama in their last outing.
“I think I’m relaxed. No pressure on us, all the pressure is on Mexico,” the coach said at a press conference, speaking alongside defender Jaylon Bather.
“We know they’re the number one team, so we’re just going to play and enjoy the match.
“I think we’re adjusting and know what’s required so I think the players are going to enjoy it.
“Mexico are the leaders in this part of the world, a country we look at to see how well they are doing.
“We know they are a good team and we respect what they bring to the game.”
Lightbourne is urging the crowd to continue to support the team as they prepare for their biggest test in the Nations League. “It’s very important for the crowd to get behind us, some people come to support, win, lose or draw and some people just come to criticise.
“We just have to take it on the chin and move on. Lessons were learnt from the Panama match, mistakes were made on the day and now we’re going to try to not make silly mistakes. We know it is going to be a difficult game for us and we expect to play large parts of the game without the ball.”
Bather, who will again partner captain Dante Leverock in the heart of the defence, is looking forward to playing against the region’s top team. “Everybody is ready to play, ready to get their feet wet, ready to get to it,” said the Robin Hood defender.
“It’s a big game for us and we know what it means to us and everybody is anxious to play. I actually dreamt about this as a young player, playing against bigger nations and competing as well, so this is definitely a dream come true.”
To accommodate television coverage to the region, the match kicks off at 10pm.
Goalkeeper: Dale Eve, Jahquil Hill, Quinaceo Hunt. Defenders: Donte Brangman, Chikosi Basden, Dante Leverock (captain). Midfielders: Liam Evans, Jaylon Bather, Jalen Harvey, Calon Minors, Tre Ming, Roger Lee, Milan Butterfield, Osagi Bascome, Willie Clemons, Reggie Lambe, Diego Richardson, Cecoy Robinson. Forwards: Paul Douglas, Nahki Wells, Lejaun Simmons, Zeiko Lewis, Justin Donawa.